In this paper I will determine the stage of development that I believe to be at, and prove my belief with evidence. First off, let me start by defining the four stages that I am currently studying. The first stage of development in critical thinking is the Unreflective Thinker. Unreflective thinkers do not take into account their thinking. They do not realize how much their thinking affects not only them, but everything around them. The second stage of development is the Challenged Thinker. Challenged thinkers are just becoming aware of their thinking and how it affects their lives. They recognize their thinking is flawed, but do not actively try to change it. The third stage of development is the Beginning Thinker. Beginning thinkers take their thoughts seriously and try to actively use the format for thinking properly, though because they are beginners, they often fall short and are awkward at it. They often make mistakes in their thinking processes, but because they are trying to follow their thoughts properly; they often catch the mistakes and try to fix them.
They know about the standards, elements, and intellectual traits and try to use them properly, but often forget or use them improperly. The fourth stage is the Practicing Thinker. Practicing thinkers know that they need to form habits to be able to use critical thinking properly. They have a basic formula for developing their thinking, but because they are still relatively new in the thinking game, they still tend to lack in depth. They know that they have to practice regularly to develop their skills. They know about the standards, elements, and intellectual traits and use them accordingly; but still lack the flawlessness that is needed.
I feel that I am predominantly in the Beginning Thinker stage. I believe this to be true because my habits and traits follow the habits and traits of a beginning thinker. For example, beginning thinkers (myself included) know that their thinking has implications and consequences depending on the circumstance. They know that a lot of the time their problems can be fixed simply by fixing the way they are thinking. They see the importance of developing their skills and being able to pick apart their thoughts to better understand everything around them. Beginning thinkers know that they need to apply the standards to the elements, but often confuse or mix some of them up.
Even though beginning thinkers often make mistakes they catch them quickly and try to find the best way to fix their mess up. They begin to monitor their thinking, but because they are so new at the idea of constantly thinking about their thinking, they often forget to think about it. Key characteristics of beginning thinkers are intellectual Humility, intellectual Confidence, and intellectual Perseverance. I believe that I show not only these traits, but also intellectual Empathy and intellectual Autonomy.
My first evidence for the idea that I am a beginning thinker starts with my first day meeting my Advisor, Cindy. After talking about the classes I needed for my degree, she offered Critical Thinking. She said she taught the class and that she would teach me, “to think about my thinking.” I thought to myself, “I know how to think, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn if I am thinking correctly.” And then I laughed because I was thinking about thinking about thinking! I provided this as evidence because it portrays my ability to admit that I may not be thinking correctly (Humility), and it also proves that I wanted to take up the challenge of thinking in depth to better my thinking (Perseverance). My second bit of evidence is in my relationship with my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I constantly fight and argue over the smallest of things, or at least at the time I thought they were small and ridiculous.
In this class I have learned to better my thinking and be able to move myself into someone else’s point of view, therefore I was able to understand that while the things we were arguing about were small and pointless to me, they meant something to him and they were rather large things he wanted to talk about. I figured out where he was coming from and then I was able to find a solution to our problems (Empathy and Fair-mindedness). The last evidence I will submit to you is my Problems and Situations Paper. In this paper I was able to find a problem, discover the reason for the problem, view several different points of view equally, find the assumptions and inferences, figure out the concepts and the consequences and then be able to answer my original question on how to fix my problem. I got an A on this paper and I believe that shows a level knowledge of the elements and standards that a Challenged thinker would not have.
At this point of time I do not believe I am ready to move on from the beginning thinker stage. I feel that I have only just entered this stage and I still need to learn more. I plan to continue to develop my critical thinking skills and practice as much as possible to be able to continue my growth in this area. I know that when I feel it is time and that I am better versed in this stage, I will then make the transition to the next stage by reading and learning more about Critical thinking and its application in daily life. Right now I plan to work more on the intellectual traits, because while I show signs from a few of them, I want to be able to show signs of all the signs.
In conclusion I believe that I am in the Beginning thinker stage and that I show signs of intellectual Autonomy, intellectual Confidence, intellectual Perseverance, and my strongest traits being intellectual Empathy, and intellectual Humility. I will be doing my best to continue to grow in this stage so that when I feel I have matured enough I can move onto the next stage of development.